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PLAYING AROUND

It's every theater major’s dream to be cast in a nationally touring production straight out of college, and for Chelsea Turbin, a recent graduate from The Boston Conservatory, that dream came true. 

Turbin landed a spot in the ensemble cast of Green Day’s “American Idiot” her senior year. “American Idiot” is a musical adapted from the Green Day album. The play centers around three discontented young men and their desire to break free of suburbia.

The show began its tour in the United Kingdom, and, by its completion, it will have visited six different countries. The production is set to come to Jacksonville, an hour away from Turbin’s hometown of Ormond Beach.

Folio Weekly spoke to Chelsea Turbin by phone about her experience on tour with “American Idiot.”

Folio Weekly: Did you always know that performing is what you wanted to do? 

Chelsea Turbin: As a kid I was always singing. I would be running around making my parents watch the “Chelsea Show” or singing on little cardboard box stages that I made. Around first grade my mom put me in Children’s Musical Theater in Ormond Beach, and I ended up staying there for eight years. It was kind of where I lived; it’s where I made most of my friends.

F.W.: Tell us about getting the part in “American Idiot.”

C.T.: It was unreal. I had auditioned for this show once before. I had just turned 18, and I was going to a casting call for “Bye Bye Birdy.” So, I did the audition and Jim Carnahan, from Carnahan Casting tells me “You’re not quite right for the part, but I’m also doing a casting for this Green Day show, so we’ll call you.” At that point I’m like "Yeah, OK, sure you’ll call me," but they did! So I went, but I ended up being way too young and inexperienced. I get there and there are just these amazing women, and guys with guitars. … but some …   More

PLAYING AROUND

It is as grungy as a musical can get. “American Idiot” satisfies both musical theater afficionados and hardcore Green Day fans. 

The show opens with the entire cast performing the anthemic, energetic “American Idiot” number. The carefully crafted staging achieves the raw angst and haphazard look appropriate for the punk rock spirit. The actors give passionate performances and stay true to the Green Day sound. 

Adapted from the Green Day album, “American Idiot” follows the lives of three friends, Johnny (Alex Nee), Tunny (Thomas Hettrick) and Will (Casey O’Farrell). The young men desperately try to throw off the suffocating blanket of suburbia only to realize that life outside of their comfort zone is even less forgiving. 

The somewhat scattered storyline parallels the life of Johnny. However, the plot is held together by the letters he sends home, which we hear through Johnny’s soliloquies.

Early in the story, Will, Tunny, and Johnny pack their bags and set off to leave their hometown. However, Will learns his girlfriend, Heather (Kennedy Caughell), is pregnant and is forced to stay behind. Farrell's electric performance connects with the audience during “Jesus of Suburbia.” 

The friends' paths continue to diverge when Tunny joins the Army and Johnny is seduced by drugs, developing a hardcore addiction personified as St. Jimmy. 

St. Jimmy (Trent Saunders) is introduced in a larger-than-life musical number, where nearly 30 TV screens display the live performance from different stage angles. This was one of many memorable numbers throughout the 95-minute play along with “Are We the Waiting” and “Letterbomb.” 

Preceded by a letter written from Johnny to his mother on Sept. 10, “Wake Me Up When September Ends” was an especially moving number. Through choreography, the ensemble …   More

PLAYING AROUND

The decline of printed publications is old news; the age of computers has been upon us for quite some time. As magazine sales and subscriptions drop, elements and techniques used in print have evolved to accommodate the shift into a digital world — but not all of them. Print cartoonists are among those now asking themselves a question: How can a craft evolve in the digital world without sacrificing tradition and technique?

"Very Semi-Serious," directed and co-produced by Jacksonville native Leah Wolchok, takes a quirky look at the humor, art and genius of the single panel cartoon. The documentary homes in on the 88-year-old New Yorker magazine and the artists who have helped make it what it is today.

There is a unique likeness between documentaries and cartoons: Both seek to uncover truths about society in an engaging, witty and sometimes confrontational way. Drawn to filmmaking in college, Wolchok said, "it was the beauty of the reality of documentary form that captured my attention."

Diving into this project and interviewing dozens of artists has revealed a lot of hard truths about the nature of the cartoon business, she said.

"Cartoonists face extreme rejection. One out of 15 pieces will be sold, maybe — if they're lucky. It's not uncommon for artists to go weeks at a time without any sold."

The fierce competitiveness of the industry reflects the importance of cartoons; they are no laughing matter.

"Over the last 90 years, the cartoons have represented a chronicle of the world's political issues," Wolchok said. "New Yorker cartoons have provided snapshots of social movements, cultural events and historical controversies for decades."

They are not always laugh-out-loud funny, nor do they always make readers comfortable. Cartoons — specifically those published in the New Yorker — can be subtle, edgy, political statements that shape and express the opinions of generations. 

"People feel a really personal connection to the cartoons …   More

Playing Around

Elvis tribute performer Alex Swindle of Birmingham, Ala., won the eighth annual Ted McMullen I’ll Remember You Elvis tribute competition Jan. 25-26 at the Spirit of the Suwannee Music Park in Live Oak.

Swindle had the hip gyrations and look necessary to advance to compete at the Images of the King Championship on Aug. 11-16 at the New Daisy Theater in Memphis.

Jeff Barnes of Evans, Ga., finished second, followed by Atlanta’s Matthew Spalding, Cote Deonath (of Dunnellon), Austin Irby (of Greenville, S.C.) and Tampa’s Jeff LaJess. Chad Hannum, 12, of Palm Coast, won the youth division. Deonath was the audience vote winner. Eighteen Elvis tribute artists competed.

  More

Playing Around

Congratulations to Tim Renshaw for winning our drawing for two tickets to the Johnny Winter concert on Feb. 14 at Ponte Vedra Concert Hall. Renshaw was selected randomly among the readers who posted a perfect score on Folio Weekly's Johnny Winter quiz.   More

PLAYING AROUND

Have you ever gone to an art gallery and wanted to give the artist a piece of your mind? With “Chalk It Up,” that’s the whole point.

“Chalk It Up” at MOCA Jacksonville will allow viewers to interact with art. It is created and curated by five students who are in “The Gallery Space in Contemporary Society” class at the University of North Florida: Anastasia Arango, Xenia Davidoff, Rebecca Ladd, Danielle Micklos and Elizabeth Taber.

Visitors will be provided with chalk to add to the exhibit. It will be part of the regular programming on the museum floor, which is sponsored by Florida Blue. 

Allison Galloway, the director of education for MOCA, worked with the students to create the exhibit.

“There will be questions on the wall, and the viewers can answer them by drawing pictures or words on the walls,” Galloway said. “Every week, there is a different theme, and the question will really make the visitors think.”

Galloway said the exhibit will provide learning opportunities for the students involved and an understanding of both chalk art and interactive exhibits for the public. She said the themes will be entertaining yet mentally challenging.

The exhibit directly fits into the goals of the course.

“The course is designed to provide students with the opportunity to learn the core practices of operating a university art gallery, including gallery management, exhibition design and development, and collections management through various readings on contemporary art practice, research assignments and hands-on experience,” said Amanda McMann, the instructor of the course.

A June 9 reception will be a celebration of all of the students' work with some food and drinks.

Galloway said the exhibit will be an experience the UNF students could not get in a regular class. She said she hopes to create an environment that engages visitors and invites their feedback.    More

PLAYING AROUND

"Antiques Roadshow" has been on PBS since the late 1990s. It is a show that travels across the country throughout the summer, featuring the antiques of those attending and appraising those items.

This will be show's first trip to Jacksonville, but "Antiques Roadshow" has been to Florida five times previously. Executive Producer Marsha Bemko said they wanted to go to a city they had never been to before, and there are not many places they can go to for the first time anymore.

More than 15,000 people registered to attend the show, but ony 3,000 were randomly selected and given a pair of tickets. If you applied for a ticket online by the deadline, April 8, you can use Ticket Checker to check your ticket status.  

The event begins at 8 a.m., and ticket holders will be admited according to the time on their tickets. The last entrance time is 5 p.m., but the event will not end until all items have been appraised.

Each attendee can bring two items and must bring at least one. There are 20 categories in which the attendees' items will be placed and then matched with an appreaiser. The appraisals can be suspenseful and surprising, as usually items are worth either more or less than they were originally thought to be. 

"We know there will be treasures there, and we want to go find them. And we know that more than 15,000 people want to show us their treasures," Bemko said.

Three episodes will be created from the Jackonville visit, plus a "Junk in the Trunk" episode, which will be aired in the spring TV season starting in January. Bemko suggested subscribing to their newsletter for updates on when episodes will appear.

The show will also record a five-minute segment at Norman Sudios on June 7 called "Roadshow's Most Wanted." In the 1920s, Richard Norman, the founder of the studios, made a number of silent adventure films that broke the racial barrier in the film industry by including African-American actors in positive, …   More

PLAYING AROUND

American indie rock bands Minus the Bear, Circa Survive and Now, Now sold out Freebird Live March 25 for four hours of rock ’n’ roll.

Minus the Bear is co-headlining the Waves Overhead tour with Circa Survive for the release of its fifth album “Infinity Overhead.”

Dozens of Pabst Blue Ribbons were thrust into the air as concert goers stood shoulder to shoulder in unanimous agreement of a stellar show.

The threesome from Minnesota, Now, Now, started the night off with a great performance and even sported neon pink Jacksonville Beach tank tops.

Now, Now emits a shoegaze feel with its dreamy, delicate vocal melodies blended with effects of guitars, drums and synthesizers.

The high-energy set catapulted the several intrepid souls into the inevitable moshing and crowd surfing, while some tried to enjoy the music without worrying about getting assaulted.

Crowd surfing was highly encouraged by the energetic lead singer of Philadelphia’s Circa Survive, Anthony Green.

“Let yourself go!” Green screamed. “Fuck Mondays! Stop acting like it’s fucking Monday.”

After Circa Survive’s amped up performance, Green invited everyone out to go swim naked in the ocean.

Minus the Bear started its set with “Steel and Blood,” a song where two become one in the cacophony of a bourbon-soaked car crash.

Soon after Minus the Bear hit the stage, the moshing and crowd surfing stopped, and people enjoyed the music through non-violent dance.

Minus the Bear also delved into older albums and played the crowd’s favorites from “Highly Refined Pirates,” “Menos el Oso,” “Planet of Ice” and “Omni.”

Towards the end of the show, Minus the Bear played the single from which the album is named, “Infinity Overhead”: “Liquid concrete under our feet/Trippin' on the constellations we see/Diamond lightning/Seeing where seams …   More

PLAYING AROUND

Jacksonville native and award-winning vocalist Lauren Elise was featured on the side of a race truck on Feb. 22 during the NextEra Energy Resources 250, a Camping World Truck Series event at Daytona. Elise’s photo appeared on the side of Jennifer Jo Cobb’s No. 10 Koma Unwind Chevrolet truck at Daytona International Speedway.

Elise, 16, currently has airplay on gospel radio stations but is hoping to cross over to country radio. She will be appearing at the next NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race at Kentucky Speedway in Sparta, Ky., on June 27 along with Cobb’s race team.

Elise is known for her outreach program, “Be Significant” #PositiveImpact campaign. Her campaign is designed to offer a voice of change and hope for those affected by bullying or thoughts of suicide.

For more information on Elise or her “Be Significant” campaign, visit laurenelisemusic.com and besignificantcampaign.com.   More

Playing Around

Katt Williams' show tonight (Feb. 8), planned for Jacksonville Veterans Memorial Arena, was canceled due to weather conditions, according to a news release from SMG.

His travel arrangements from the West Coast to the East Coast were changed, preventing him from performing in Jacksonville.

Refunds are available at the point of purchase, according to the statement. For more information, contact the Veterans Memorial Arena at 630-3900.   More

 
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